Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Timothy Thurber


In 1972, the campaign to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) began in the states. Many states quickly ratified the amendment but the ERA stalled fifteen states short of the necessary three-fourths to become part of the United States Constitution. Virginia was one of the states who did not ratify the amendment and this study examines the reasons why. Much like other southern states, conservative Virginia legislators wanted to maintain traditional gender roles. STOP ERA and other anti-ERA organizations mobilized before the proponents developed a unified campaign. Legislators were able to use the rules of the General Assembly to block serious consideration and ratification of the ERA. Proponents of the amendment started with an educational campaign but faced the problem of not being in a position to challenge the powerful conservative leaders in the General Assembly. They then shifted to a campaign based on electoral politics. However, the transition occurred too late to effect the outcome of ERA ratification in Virginia.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008

Included in

History Commons